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THE WEIRD, THE QUIRKY AND THE DOWNRIGHT ODD

Programs Bring the Dead to “Life” this April as Part of the Philadelphia Science Festival

Beth Beverly, rogue taxidermist and new TV reality star on AMC, among the experts featured

Unique programs explore the undead, the 6-legged and other strange science

PHILADELPHIA (Feb. 13, 2013) – What role does science play in a world where the supernatural and super-weird dominate pop culture – where the living dead and post-apocalyptic scenarios are a part of the norm, and reality shows with taxidermists premiere in primetime?

Beth Beverly rogue taxidermist 02-12-13The 2013 Philadelphia Science Festival, presented by The Dow Chemical Company and coming up April 18-28, will offer a collection of programming with fans of the semi-strange in mind.

For example: Beth Beverly, billed as the city’s preeminent “rogue taxidermist” and who makes her national television debut Feb. 14 on AMC’s Immortalized, will headline one of this year’s most-anticipated programs, “Skinned, Stuffed and Mounted: Taxidermy Exposed.” Along with other experts, including The Breathless Zoo author Rachel Poliquin, the April 21 event will feature live demonstrations and in-depth discussions at The Wagner Free Institute of Science.

“There will be something for every interest and every taste, whether you’re into taxidermy, tacos or transistors,” said Steve Snyder, VP of Exhibit and Program Development for The Franklin Institute, the lead organizer behind the third annual Festival. “There are more than 100 collaborative programs taking place this year, and more than two-thirds of them are free. Sure, there are more traditional topics – although they’re presented in new and unusual ways through unique collaborations. But we also focused on more main-stream concepts and irreverent, somewhat quirky topics, too.”

Also in the mix for April is “The Morgue the Merrier: The Science of the Living Dead” at Laurel Hill Cemetery. Zombie-lovers and novice gumshoes alike will be able to satisfy their quirky appetite with a body part scavenger hunt and “zombie autopsy” followed by appropriately themed refreshments and hands-on activities. And Morris Arboretum has teamed up with their local Iron Hill Brewery in Chestnut Hill to offer “Bugs-A-Brewing.” In celebration of their upcoming exhibit, David Rogers’ Big Bugs, the Arboretum will be—no, not brewing bugs— but discussing how such tiny creatures threaten our trees and plants to those that are beneficial and should be protected.

A complete list of Festival events will be available in late-February/early-March at PhilaScienceFestival.org. In the meantime, here are some weird, quirky and downright odd programming highlights:

—    Hallucinogenic Health: What a Long Strange Trip It’s Been…
Sunday, April 21 at 4pm | Frankford Hall

Hallucinogenic substances were outlawed over 40 years ago (both for recreational use and as a form of treatment). Explore the history of psychedelic research in America, how labs across the world are reviving that research, and how the field of study may develop in the future.

—    Skinned, Stuffed and Mounted: Taxidermy Exposed

Sunday, April 21 from 2:00pm to 5:30pm | The Wagner Free Institute

With over 100,000 specimens, many of which are skinned, stuffed and mounted, the Wagner Free Institute of Science is no stranger to taxidermy. Join Rachel Poliquin, author of the book The Breathless Zoo, and Beth Beverly, a local artist and taxidermist, for history, discussion, and demonstration. While not for the faint-of-heart, this fascinating display is not to be missed!

A small reception will follow the talk with light refreshments, Q&A, book signings and taxidermy art and jewelry sales. ($)

—    Bugs-A-Brewing

Monday, April 22 at 6:30pm | Iron Hill Brewery Chestnut Hill

Bugs are EVERYWHERE!  Experts from the Morris Arboretum will be on hand to talk about how bugs can both help us and harm us, all while answering any and all creeping, crawling insect inquiries.

—    Liver, Beans, and Dice: The Ancient (and Modern) Science of Fortune Telling

Friday, April 26 at 6:30pm | The Clay Studio

Believe it or not, people once commonly thought that fortune telling (divination) was a science. Make your own “fortune teller” while examining both ancient and current forms of divination as you explore the actual science behind the ways that were (and still are) used to divine our fates. ($)

—    Murder at the Mütter™: Outbreak!

Friday, April 26 at 7pm | The Mütter Museum of The College of Physicians of Philadelphia

There’s been an outbreak! Decipher clues and analyze data to determine the cause of the pandemic. With the help of local forensic experts, you’ll experience, first hand, the science crucial to solving crime. ($)

—    The Morgue the Merrier: The Science of the Living Dead

Saturday, April 27 at 6pm | Laurel Hill Cemetery

View a live zombie autopsy, complete a body part scavenger hunt, and discover the science of outbreaks. Party like the living dead with refreshments, drinks and zombie activities in the cemetery. ($)

—    Discovery Day at the Seaport: Disease, Plants and People coming to America on the Delaware

Sunday, April 28 from 10am to 4pm | Independence Seaport Museum

How have people impacted the Delaware River and what influence has the River had on Philadelphians? Step aboard a historic vessel for an immersive immigration experience, including exploring the spread of infectious diseases such as yellow fever and the introduction of non-native plants and animals. ($)

—    Science for Sinners

Sunday, April 28 from 6:00pm to 8:00pm| Frankford Hall

Join this scientific spin on the seven deadly sins. Eat, drink, and be wary with talks and entertainment acts. ($)

The 3rd Annual Philadelphia Science Festival is sponsored by Dow, Drexel University, FMC Corporation, AT&T Mobility, GlaxoSmithKline, PECO, SABIC, Temple University, University of Pennsylvania, University City Science Center, Stockton & Partners, Inc., Novo Nordisk of North America, University of the Sciences, Quaker Chemical Corporation, Fox Chase Cancer Center, Geosyntec Consultants, Philadelphia University, The SI Organization, Thomas Jefferson University and Crazy Aaron’s Putty World. To learn more, visit PhilaScienceFestival.org or call 215-448-1128.

About The Franklin Institute

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania’s most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit www.fi.edu.

About the Philadelphia Science Festival

One of the first celebrations of its kind in the country, the Philadelphia Science Festival is a 10-day celebration of science and technology in everyday places – parks, restaurants, bars, libraries and museums. It asks Philadelphians to question the world around them and aims to inspire not only the next generation of scientists and engineers, but also create homegrown citizen scientists. More than 105 partners are working together to produce the Festival, which runs April 18-28 is presented by The Dow Chemical Company and organized by The Franklin Institute. To learn more, visit PhilaScienceFestival.org or call 215-448-1128.

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NOTES TO EDITORS:

  • PSF is on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Foursquare and Pinterest: PHLScienceFest
  • The 2013 hashtag is #PSF2013